Iowa women’s gymnastics takes stand against social injustices

The team’s slogan for the 2021 season is “ENOUGH.”

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The Iowa women’s gymnastics team watches a video together after a women’s gymnastics meet between the Iowa Gym-Hawks and the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021. The video was dedicated to fighting racial injustice and creating unity. The Hawks defeated the Gophers, 196.800-196.375.

Hunter Moeller, Sports Reporter


The Iowa women’s gymnastics team has had “ENOUGH.”

The team has decided to take a stand against social injustices with its slogan for the 2021 season. This season for the team has been about much more than solely gymnastics, teammates said, and the slogan was something that they agreed helped meet the moment.

The idea came to fruition after Minneapolis man George Floyd died in the hands of police Minneapolis last May.

“Last summer, we were all in quarantine when George Floyd was murdered,” senior Clair Kaji said. “This whole thing blew up on social media. It’s so wrong that that happened, and then everyone woke up, but it’s the thing that woke us up. That’s when we started our talk. That’s how we began our discussion on how we can use our platform to raise awareness to not just racial injustices, not just Black Lives Matter, but encompassing all the injustices.”

It was senior Emma Hartzler who suggested using “ENOUGH.” She came up with the idea by combining “we are enough” and “we have had enough.”

“As soon as we got that idea, it was super impactful from the beginning,” Kaji said. “It was something that hit our heart and our soul, something that we can genuinely stand behind. I thought that was super important to show that we’re not afraid to say and stand by what we believe in.”

The women decided to release a Black History Month video on Feb. 6, which shows the gymnasts’ support for racial justice, equal rights for women and LGBT people with slides from past demonstrations. Other slides include figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Muhammad Ali, as well as current Iowa athletes kneeling.

Head coach Larissa Libby said creating the video was hard and scary, but it was important and the right thing to do.

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“Social justice is hard because it’s how you’re raised or how you’re brought up or what your experiences were with all these various types of social movements,” Libby said. “It’s not that you don’t believe in gender equity or believe that Black lives matter. It’s not about that. Your experiences shape what you know. It’s hard because everyone falls in on a different side of it. I am very proud of this video. I am proud of my team for the hard work they had to do, and week to week, they continue to do it.”

Sophomore JerQuavia Henderson and junior Lauren Guerin said to the them, the gymnastics experience has to be more than flips, spins, and routines.

“To our team, it’s more than just gymnastics,” Henderson said. “It’s more than just us. It represents who we are as individuals, as athletes, and as students. It’s a representation that we recognize the things that we have had enough of, and also the recognition that we are enough as a team and as individuals.”

The video has over 75,000 views on Twitter and over 12,000 views on Facebook.

“The fact that we were able to do that with this video and that it got so much attention means everything to us,” Guerin said. “It’s just so important to us. We have had so many conversations this year, and the fact that people are acknowledging it is so special to us.”

Libby said she wanted to support the team in all their endeavors — especially for equal rights and treatment.

“All I’m qualified to do is coach them, to be the best mentor that I can be as a woman in their life, as a mom, and for someone that gives them a peek into the future,” Libby said. “If this was your children, what do you want the world to look like as you move forward? We promised each other that the thing we were going to do was take action, and that is what ‘ENOUGH.’ is about. It’s about them being enough with gymnastics. What they bring to the table as a person as an individual is more than good enough without gymnastics. Gymnastics, this is what you do, this is who you are, being able to separate those is where it started.

“We’re more than enough as a team. We are more than enough as Iowa gymnastics. We’ve had enough of people thinking we’re not good enough. We’ve had enough of what’s going on in the country and the world. It’s enough.”

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